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Sad Story of Decades of Exploitation of the Disabled . . . in Iowa!

11 Mar

Sad Story of Decades of Exploitation of the Disabled . . . in Iowa!

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Bowdoin College and Free Speech!

11 Mar

Bowdoin College and Free Speech!

For those of us who loved the movie Gettysburg and will forever associate Bowdoin College with the brilliant, if somewhat academic, military tactician Joshua Chamberlain, this news is chilling.

The fourth most highly ranked liberal arts school in the U.S. believes that freedom of association no longer works in the U.S., at least for Christians.

The leadership of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship chapter on campus are being told they must sign a statement that people of alternate sexualities are eligible for leadership in their group. The belief is that, since Maine state law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, there should be no other additional standards to those in Maine law for eligibility to lead in this Christian group.

What? As the article says, are they going to apply that to leadership of dance groups (you can’t discriminate against non-dancers) or foreign student groups (you can’t discriminate against people who have never traveled outside the U.S.)?

Scary ground toward which we head.

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Who Owns the Pastor’s Sermons when They Become a Bestseller?

4 Feb

Who Owns the Pastors Sermons when They Become a Bestseller?

It is best to know in advance whether the church, a pastor, or a private enterprise/foundation owns a pastor’s sermons so when they are published, the tax implications of royalties are correctly in place.

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Poverty . . . Any Ideas?

31 Jan

Poverty . . . Any Ideas?

This piece, on worldwide poverty, brings to mind our microcosm in the U.S., as addressed by the President in the State of the Union address Tuesday night (January 28, 2014).

I had some thoughts on the wage inequality that the President raised. I don’t believe it will be touched by raising either the federal employees’ minimum wage to $10.40 an hour, nor the country’s minimum wage to $10.40 an hour.

First of all, most federal employees already make far more than $10.40 an hour, so that statement was just window dressing anyway.

Secondly, what can be done on $440 a week? Not much here. Even two married people, both making minimum wage, would be barely able to scrape by on $880 a week in coastal Virginia.

Should we federally control prices? In a free market? Never. That would be the worst of Soviet communism, come to fruition on our own soil.

So how do we equip people to live in this expensive economy?

Certainly not by preparing them to be minimum wage workers all life long.

Our newspaper, not a bastion of liberal nor of conservative thought, laid it all out again last week (these statistics are well known and have often been reported by bipartisan sources): point #1) there is a huge difference in wages between high school graduates (or dropouts) and college graduates, point #2) college graduates tend to marry each other and point #3) college graduates are the ones who still believe in the institution of marriage and embark on it, trying to make it last (high school graduates and dropouts tend to be the ones who believe that the entire institution of marriage is flawed so we should all just cohabitate whenever we wish).

I have had people who don’t believe in the institution of marriage try to give me anecdotal evidence that suggests the above points are not true. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. But the points are true.

So, given that, I was less than encouraged that neither the State of the Union nor its rebuttal led to a discussion of strengthening the family.

It seems that finishing college and embarking on long-lasting marriages is the way forward economically for Americans.

Yes, we used to be able to make it in single-earner households. Some, by drawing down their requirements, still do. But most of us do not. World War II changed that by putting women to work. The economy grew to the point that it costs the wages of a husband plus the wages of a wife to live.

Society shifted. Life is like that.

Any constructive ideas from others about the way forward?

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Three Questions to Ask Before Weighing in on a Controversy . . .

16 Dec

Three Questions to Ask Before Weighing in on a Controversy . . .

Rape Insurance??? What our Language Says . . .

16 Dec

Those in Michigan (and nationwide) who object to Michigan’s official policy, written into law last week, that abortions are not a covered service required to be provided by insurance companies, have taken on a new tactic to express their anger.

Coverage for abortions now requires a separate rider in Michigan, sometimes from a different insurance company or sometimes paid for by the individual if her employer has a moral conflict with covering her abortions.  

Opponents are calling these riders “rape insurance.”

Ah, yes, use hyperbole to bring up the extremely small percentage of abortions that are requested due to rape.  Then drag that language front and center!

They say the people who control the language also control the dialogue.  This is not a time for conservatives to passively sit back and let the language be hijacked this way.   

When I was younger, insurance companies often had separate riders for maternity insurance. We didn’t purchase one, even when trying for a brother or sister for Joey (he was born at the local naval hospital and cost us a sum total of $16).  We had intended to have our second child, and any subsequent children, born at home and to pay the midwife out of pocket.

Quaint concept that–paying out of pocket for the things we want.  We now think everything our heart desires must be covered by someone else’s funding, don’t we?   

Thus we have an outcry when those who desire an abortion can’t find a way to get them free (read:  at taxpayer expense or at the expense of the other people employed by their companies).  

I categorically object to the term “rape insurance.”  

It is a false categorization of riders which are making people pay for their own abortions.

Morally, I don’t intend to pay for them.  You have the right to have an abortion.  You also have the right to find a way to pay for it that does not involve me. 

Just sayin’

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It is Not Good to Legislate from a Place of Woundedness!

8 Oct

It is Not Good to Legislate from a Place of Woundedness!

I read a blog post once in which a young man was interviewed. He was a child molester who went after pre-pubescent boys. And he told of how he had been molested as a pre-pubescent boy. He didn’t think what he was doing to the other boys was particularly harmful but . . . even if it was, he didn’t care. His empathy mechanism had died in childhood, when someone first molested him.

There is a gasp of indignation when something like this happens. We mourn the loss of innocence of the young child whose empathy was stripped away. Yet we realize we can’t just turn him loose on an unsuspecting world to lash out against others for the rest of his days.

In many ways, we all can lose our empathy mechanism, in whole or in part.

There are many who have spoken of feeling like their childhood was “on the outside looking in” at the families they presumed were happy when theirs was not. That is sad. Perhaps we have all felt a bit of that at times, but some children grow up feeling it constantly.

Problem is, their empathy mechanism can shut off from that, too. Particularly if their feeling of being an outsider transforms into a desire to take revenge on those they felt had things better than they did. They may, in time, feel as though they are divinely appointed avengers to make sure that those who got so much in childhood don’t carry right on being privileged their whole life through.

If they get into a position of power, they may very well try to make rules that are not good rules . . . because those rules come from that wounded place inside, that child who was thwarted so much that his empathy mechanism shut down.

I have been feeling that that is happening this week, as I have watched the executive branch of our government lash out again and again, against many things that are normal and wholesome in our land.

World War II veterans traveling across the nation to visit their memorial on the National Mall.

Senior citizens from the U.S. and many other countries traveling to the Grand Canyon on a bus.

People trying to vacation at an inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway after making reservations months ago.

People trying to have a meal at a historic restaurant in nearby Yorktown, Virginia but finding that the restaurant is leased in a building belonging to the National Park Service.

And now, dead servicemembers coming back from Afghanistan with no funds being given to their families to fly out to Dover Air Force Base to meet the remains of their loved one. If the loved one is still alive and in a hospital in Germany, no funds to fly the family over there to spend time with the injured servicemember, even if he might be critically injured and end up dying . . .

What, in the name of all that is holy and good, are we doing? This stuff could be fixed with a memo from the President, who heads up the executive branch. I am not going to say that he is the one so lacking in empathy as to make all of these cruel choices, but I will say that he could put a stop to them with a stroke of his pen.

Is he possibly grandstanding, using these people as human shields to try to force the side opposing him to grant him, quickly, the concessions he desires? Only God knows his heart, but I will say that he has not come across as warm and empathetic to any of the above groups this week. And his executive branch, particularly the National Park Service, which works for the Department of the Interior, has run amuck.

If you don’t have a dad who served in World War II, can you still empathize with the veterans of that war? Of course.

If you don’t have elderly parents heading for the Grand Canyon, can you still empathize with the seniors whose bus was turned away from that national park this week? Of course. You can empathize even if you were raised in a family so poor that it never took vacations. Or a broken family that had no concept of vacations . . .

Can you empathize with strangers trying to stay in a Blue Ridge Parkway inn or trying to eat in a Yorktown restaurant? Of course. And you can sympathize with the businesses operating the inn and the restaurant, private businesses that now have employees who need to pay bills and are not working . . .

Most of all, you can empathize with the parents and spouses of the slain military members, even if you have never personally had a familymember in the military. Your heart can ache, knowing how much it would hurt to have to go claim the remains of your own child or spouse . . .

In all of these situations, we can have empathy and should have empathy. If our empathy mechanism is broken, that is not normal. We should not expect everyone to join us in a “who cares” vengeful attitude toward these very normal families trying to take a trip, especially a trip that ends with claiming the remains of a loved one.

I don’t know where the orders to disrupt normal American families as vengefully as possible have been originating during this shutdown, but I know who can stop them with the stroke of a pen.

As I have heard more than one person say this week: “Mr. President, tear down those barriers!”

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